self-declared art

Friday, September 30, 2005

d & d micro teaching

Daffy's lesson on pollution was so interesting. I think the idea of using Captain Planet as a starter to the topic was creative. Alot of hard work and preparation must have gone into the lesson. :) Perhaps Daffy had problems putting herself into the role of a teacher completely, as she went about giggling and bursting into laughter now and then. The ever-friendly teacher at work. :p

Generally, I felt that her lesson went quite well, except for the few students in class who made the lesson more lively with cheeky answers and arrogant airs such as the divide between the Chinese queens and the English queens. Shujun and I were obviously not getting anywhere in the discussion as the other two in our group were busy writing Chinese words all over the worksheets. Yenpeng also called us potatoes. (!) Actually, this kind of situation is quite real, as it was the case in my sec school, where almost everyone was more comfy with conversations in English. I think we all have to think of how to ease such tensions that may arise in our future classrooms.

Daren was a little nervous at the start of the lesson. His rock specimens were cute and took some time to prepare for. After looking at his lesson plan, I think that he should have tried out the game he had in mind, as I would like to see how a game on weathering may be like. :) I think that it was also thoughtful of Daren to list down the references in his slide so that the students could read more on their own. Good job. :)

As I went round the class and zoomed in on everyone, it was obvious that Ken was trying to get attention by playing with his phone and closing his eyes. Liyan was passing around some msg about the cup on the table which Daren did not notice until some time into the lesson. Rezal's intrusion into the classroom was hilarious, but I think Daren had done a good job in pacifying his request. However, now that security is so tight in schools, I doubt that any parent will gain entry to the class so easily. Overall, I think that both if them had managed to pacify the troubles that came up in class, so the lesson could go on. I really need to prepare and work on my micro-teaching! Really great to learn from the so many examples in class. :)

Friday, September 23, 2005

fed up

I need to let off steam. I am angry at how things have turned out in my GESL group. Relations and trust have soured because my leader is so result-oriented that he actually forgets to care about our feelings. For example, he puts down sub committees within the group if they do not perform to his standard, and he does it publicly. The group communicates through the Yahoo group links, and it is so depressing to see comments such as "don't let the team down" and "it is evident some of the groups have really worked hard". You mean others are slacking off?
It upsets me because he did not even consider the problems that a certain subcommittee faced before he passed such comments. I felt upset when the leader of the subcommittee spoke up by reminding everyone that the Yahoo platform was not to put others down, but to exchange and keep the rest updated about events. I can imagine how his team must be feeling. Even my group, the programmes group, had not been performing exactly up to his standard until recently when my programmes leader managed to secure a venue for our upcoming event that the leader then let our group pass.
I am so upset. It is as if I am nothing to my leader except a subordinate. Any interaction or correspondence is strictly that of a superior giving orders to his staff. Are we all not here as equals???The last time I checked, we all entered NIE as trainee teachers. This has made me feel very down indeed. I will update on the PTM when I have cooled down properly.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

all the world's a stage-i play my part

Ms Yee always reminds us of Shakespeare's very famous line, "All the world's a stage", especially now that she is teaching us how to conduct lessons on drama in class. Speaking of which, I love speech and drama classes, which I attended since primary school. Had stopped at Grade 3, and if I had not come into teaching, I might have continued with the course. :)
I've just read through Kenneth's longest email, and I'm feeling troubled. I guess it's because we've all forgotten our place as professionals and did not behave in a professional manner with regards to the fieldtrip to Semakau. We all got carried away. Last month, I bumped into my TPP instructor, a retired principal. I was just so relieved that I dressed presentably. She saw me sitting in my boyfrined's car and actually came over to say hi. When I take the bus home from Tanah Merah Station, some of the AHS students either smile at me or stare. I'm just so glad my dress code did not give them reason to talk. Even a simple issue like dress sense has become so important to me ever since I joined this profession. I don't know if my geog mates feel the way I do.
I'm also troubled because of the recent turn of events in geog class. Like Liyan and Ken, I look forward to the class every week because there are so many things that we learn from our peers and tutor. I agree with Ken that everyone should have the chance to pour out their grievances and then move on from there. Unless we snap out of the past we will never move on. This reminds me of Moses who led his people out of Egypt. He had a past to deal with too, his abandonment of the royal status and his crime of killing an Egyptian. I think if God had not dealt with his past, he would not have moved on to fulfil his calling and potential of delivering God's people out of Egypt.
This one week break is coming to an end..Perhaps it's a good time to ponder over the things we have learnt at NIE. It's not fair to dismiss everything we learn here as irrelevant or trivial or whatever. I'll just put a little reminder that Kenneth said to me previously, that our minds are like parachutes. We just have to keep an open mind, and that includes having a good attitude, not a loser/grasshopper attitude in the things we attempt to do or learn.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Karen's micro-teaching

Karen's micro-teaching on TRF started on a good note. She prompted the class to think about Singapore's climate profile before introducing us to the topic on TRF. My lit tutor Ms Yee also uses this as a starter because she says it can get students interested in what you are going to teach even before you deliver the content. However, I was daunted by the worksheet when I saw the many paragraphs that I had to read through. At the same time, I was trying to listen to Karen and also looking at the powerpoint slides to fill in as many blanks as I could. It was frustrating for me as I had to keep referring to Daren's paper to copy from him(so they can call me blur :P).

I think that generally, the momentum of the lesson was not smooth, as there were too many distractions from various students all throughout the lesson. The usual paper throwing or pen throwing exercise was the norm, very bored students grouping together and looking bored and no one in particular paid full attention to Karen. The scenario more closely resembled a sec 3 n(a) class. I think that Karen's voice was not loud enough or confident enough, although she attempted to deal with the problem makers in class, she had not been firm enough with us, so the noise level escalated and classroom management was a disaster. I was confused by the epiphyte vs liana debate- Karen did not address the confusion between the two terms, and this confusion was obvious when she played the game at the end of the lesson.

The purpose of the game, i suppose, was to test if we had memorised the definitions of the key terms that Karen had gone through in the powerpoint slides. Yet the epiphtye vs liana debate shows that it is not enough to rely on definitions alone-we need to understand the concept before attempting memory work. Seems like most of the micro-teachings have resorted to using powerpoint slides to teach. Would not using a powerpoint be just as effective? I remember my NUS lecturer, Prof James Sidaway told my tutorial group that he wants to give $50 to the group that doesn't make use of powerpoint slides for the psychogeography presentation. My group decided not to use powerpoint, but we used alot of skits to demonstrate our experiment and till now, we have not gotten that $50! Ha ha. I think that teaching without the use of powerpoint can also be effective. There's an article by Gillian Rose about the use of visual aids in teaching, with specific ref to powerpoints and she's criticising the (over)usage of ppts. I shall go hunt for it among my numerous readings at home and share with the class. :)